Mini wine bottle sales rocket in UK

Tesco says its shoppers had bought nearly one million more “quarter” bottles of wine than in the previous year.

Sales of single-serve bottles of wine are soaring in the UK as health-conscious consumers seek to rein in the amount of alcohol they drink.

Tesco says its shoppers had bought nearly one million more “quarter” bottles of wine (187.5ml) than in the previous year – equivalent to a 10% sales increase. 

Sainsbury’s reported a 21% increase in sales, led by the appeal of smaller bottles of prosecco, the sparkling Italian wine.

Although they are proportionately more expensive, the wider range of good quality wines in smaller sizes has given consumers more choice while allowing them to exercise restraint.

Tesco wine buyer Ami Harmer says: “When buying a full-sized bottle of wine, there is always a temptation to finish the bottle. The smaller [servings] enable people to pour themselves a good glass and keep a close eye on the number of units they are consuming.”

The UK government advises that men should not regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol a day and women two to three units. A standard 750ml bottle of red, white or rose wine (rated 13.5% alcohol by volume) contains 10 units.

M&S introduced own-label mini bottles 20 years ago and now has 36 in the range, including 10 of the middle-sized 500ml options.

All come in plastic bottles, which also makes them lighter. 

Wine buyer Yves Fourcade says: “Our mini bottles are really popular with our customers and sales of our goblets of wine specifically are up 12% on the year. Our fastest sellers are our two Australian wines and the French chardonnay.”

Sainsbury’s says sales of the small bottles have increased 21% year-on-year, with a 30% increase for prosecco. 

“We know that customers hate the idea of waste and whereas a half-drunk bottle of still table wine will happily sit round for a couple of days, sparkling wine will lose some of its fizz and is therefore more likely to be wasted,” a spokeswoman says. “Single serve means customers can enjoy a lovely glass of fizz without any of those concerns.”